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Walking Away With It

Another satisfactorily productive effort from Arizona yesterday, rolling briskly over Kansas City 13-5. Admittedly, they received some help from the Royals pitchers, who walked a total of 11 batters, eight in the last three innings. Tankersley was the worst culprit, facing five hitters and walking four - as the old football/soccer chant goes, "Are you Randolph in disguise?" - to give him the interesting line of 1/3 IP, 0 H, 3 ER.

This didn't leave much for our actual offense to do. Glaus and Hill had two hits each and, in another quirky box-score entry, Royce Clayton went 0-for-3 with three runs scored. Clark had a two-run pinch-hit homer, which is hopefully the shape of things to come, both in terms of his role and his production this season.

The focus was on Mike Gosling however, in his penultimate start of spring training. Despite some control issues (three walks in four innings), he kept the lid on, allowing just one run. Halsey gets to pitch on Tuesday, while Gosling will make his final start Thursday. I think it's been a productive spring for both pitchers, regardless of the final decision.

And, ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to announce that was Arizona's fourth win in a row. I didn't mention it beforehand, for fear of jinxing them yesterday - like I did after the first two wins! - but this is our longest win streak, in spring training or the regular season, since Sept 13-17, 2003. That's a total span of 232 games - we never won four in a row at all last season. They've scored double-digit runs in the past three, and overall have outscored the opposition 37-14 in the streak.

Okay, it's still only spring training, but we're coming to the end of it, and if there's a good time to beat up on other teams, now is it. Both we and they should be putting our near full-strength teams. At least in theory: I'm still seeing too many names I don't recognise in box-scores, even for Arizona. Yesterday's entry, D. Slaten pitching 1 1/3 innings in relief. Perhaps this is Adriano Rosario's latest identity. ;-)

Heroes and Zeroes
(Min 30 AB)
Glaus .435 (20-for-46)
Cruz .413 (19-for-46)
Hairston .382 (13-for-34)
Gonzalez .268 (11-for-41)
Clark .243 (9-for-37)
Green .235 (12-for-51)

For what it's worth Glaus's 24 RBIs is already well past the best figure last spring (Gonzo hit 19), and appears to be the since at least 2001. [ESPN stats only go back the past four Cactus Leagues]

Pitching (Min 7 IP)
Lyon 10 IP, 4 H, 1 ER
Halsey 18 IP, 19 H, 5 ER [+ 7 BB, 9 K]
Gosling 18.1 IP, 21 H, 7 ER [+ 8 BB, 10 K]
Koplove 7 IP, 9 H, 5 ER
Webb, 20 IP, 24 H, 15 ER
Villarreal, 9.2 IP, 15 H, 13 ER

The above goes to show just how close the race really is between Gosling and Halsey - Halsey has the edge in ERA (2.50 vs. 3.44), but especially over this small sample size, that's not significant. The WHIPs for the pair are much closer, less than 10% different (1.44 vs. 1.58). Sod it, put them both in the rotation and can Estes (ERA 6.00, WHIP 1.43). Oops, did I say that out loud?

The good news is, I'm finally going to a spring training game on Wednesday! The bad news is, it's not the D'backs. :-( We've got Chris's cousin in from California so we're off the heady delights of Oakland vs. Milwaukee at Phoenix Muni. Still, it'll cross another stadium off the list, and I'll happily take an afternoon of baseball, regardless of the teams involved! Memo to self: buy sunblock...